If you’re a typical parent, you log plenty of miles driving your kids to and from school, sports, lessons, appointments, etc. But all of that time in the car need not be brain-drain time. In fact, downtime at home need not be brain-drain time. Electronics, unquestionably, have legitimate value to kids—when they’re used the right way. If your kids’ electronics downtime is spent on social media, watching TV or playing games, you’re not fully harnessing the power of technology. Fortunately, change is just a few clicks away. Turn your kids on to podcasts that not only entertain, but educate!

What Are Podcasts?

You are familiar with broadcasting. You are probably familiar with iPods—the predecessors to iPhones. You are probably familiar with blogs. Think of podcasts as audio blogs you subscribe to. Unlike iPods, which we used to rely on for the latest music, podcasts disseminate ideas to a large audience. Families traveling to and from soccer practice, bored kids looking for a distraction on a rainy day at home—the right podcasts can make downtime incredibly productive.

Here are five podcasts you and your kids will love:

Wow in the World

What do you get when a Sirius XM kid’s channel radio host who’s a mom teams up with an NPR radio host who’s a dad? An engaging podcast ideal “for curious kids and their parents!” Episodes of Wow in the World  feature catchy titles such as “Mucus Mansions and Pooping Plastic” and “The Search for Planet Nine and Our Sushi-Powered Brains,” and they are so entertaining, your kids won’t realize they’re learning!

What If World

What if kids could turn into strep-fighting ninjas? What if cats could turn into vampires? What if candy was good for you? What if I could jump through my TV and jump into Minecraft world? This podcast engages and entertains kids by spinning a compelling “what if” question into an imaginative story that will keep them on the edge of their seats. Tune in for nearly 50 (and counting) episodes.

The Show About Science

As you’ve ascertained from the title, this is a podcast about science. It’s far from dry and clinical though. It’s hosted by a precocious seven-year-old (Nate Butkus) and produced by his dad. During each episode, Nate interviews expert guests, including neuroscientists, professors, researchers, et al. and broadcasts live from university chemistry labs and other sites. To date, Nates’ podcast has produced more than 30 episodes covering such topics as effects of sugar on the brain, exoplanets, evolution, and sea turtles.

Stuff You Should Know (SYSK)

With topics including “How Internships Work,” “How Police Body Cameras Work,” and “How Handwriting Analysis Works,” this podcast from the “How Stuff Works” folks will engage older kids, teens, and parents alike. But while many of the podcasts are geared toward adults, they do have plenty of kid-friendly subjects, including an animal category with such podcasts such as “How Frogs Work” and “How Giraffes Work.”

Kids Like You and Me

If your kids have ever been mocked or bullied or you want to teach them why they should not mock or bully others, tune into this podcast from Montana Public Radio. Episodes cover universal topics like kindness and isolation in addition to autism, diabetes, hearing loss, and disorders such as William Syndrome, which cause some kids to look and act differently than their peers. The common thread through all the episodes is acceptance and compassion.

Next time you’ve got carpool duty or a road trip, dial up a podcast and make drive time educational time!

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